tv Headline News RT October 29, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT
coming up on r t as u.s. relations with other countries soured over the n.s.a. scandal congress holds a public hearing to look into the spying issue of possible reforms to the foreign intelligence surveillance act a breakdown on those efforts ahead and the collateral damage of u.s. drone strikes overseas congress hears from pakistani family on the drone attack that killed their family matriarch more on that hearing coming up and headed to jail former u.s. congressman will be spending three years in the slammer he was convicted of multiple crimes including wire fraud conspiracy a breakdown on his criminal activity later in the show. it's tuesday october twenty ninth five pm in washington d.c.
i'm lynn neary david in you're watching our t.v. we begin today with the continued fallout between the united states and the european union over allegations that the u.s. has been spying on its closest allies german officials have confirmed that the e.u. is now mulling over sanctions on the us government these sanctions would impede the u.s. government's access to law enforcement to a law enforcement tool mainly used to track the flow of money associated with terrorism but it seems the international weeks that incited this action are far from over journalist glenn greenwald now says there are many more ahead. we're just trying to make sure that all of these arguments here were given every single country. where there are documents for which is those countries in the world. that will be seen in brazil germany france. and. the states is going to repeat itself continuously for the next several weeks or months
and almost every country around the world here in washington the tone took a very serious turn as senator dianne feinstein a vocal n.s.a. supporter called out the agency she said with respect to the n.s.a. collection of intelligence on leaders of u.s. allies let me state unequivocally i am totally opposed i do not believe the united states should be collecting phone calls or e-mails of friendly presidents and prime ministers meanwhile on capitol hill the house intelligence committee is holding a hearing to discuss the role of pfizer in the surveillance of american citizens now pfizer or the foreign intelligence surveillance act is the piece of legislation that sets the guidelines for the n.s.a.'s bulk collection of foreign intelligence information this is the committee's second open hearing since former government contractor edward snowden leaked detailed information about how the programs operate back in june and a statement a house panel spokesperson said the hearing was in place to quote assess
a number of proposals to improve transparency and strengthen privacy protections to further build the confidence of the american public and our nation's pfizer programs so to talk about this hearing and the latest on the n.s.a. i'm joined now by our teeth sam sacks who is live at the capitol sam the hearing was supposed to consider a number of proposals can you talk about what those proposals and tail. good to be with you mary so just to recap the fai's accord is this top secret court that we're told that provides the oversight over a lot of the n.s.a. surveillance programs including the the bulk metadata collection program so the n.s.a. has to go to this court to get a lot of these court orders problem is nobody knows what really goes on inside this court a lot of the court opinions are classified there's only one it's not an adversarial court there's only one arguing and it's from the government and they go to the judges to get information there's no one representing the privacy of the individual
who the government is trying to get information about so today's hearing was all about how to bring more transparency to this court and reforms to this court a number of ideas were brought up such as a process for declassifying the court's opinion to give members of congress some more insight into what's what's going on here. there was an idea to install a privacy advocate within the court who would argue on behalf of civil liberties concerns on behalf of privacy against the government lawyer in these top secret court proceedings there's another proposal on the table to restrict section two fifteen of the patriot act the business records provision which seem to say which the court has given the n.s.a. the authority to scoop up all our method phone metadata. that the n.s.a. has been that the programs have been revealed by edward snowden here and the n.s.a. kind of ruffled about general keith alexander who's the chief of the n.s.a. said that getting rid of the section two fifteen of the patriot act could put the country at a risk and and leave the united states open to another terrorist attack so they weren't really open to that reform in particular some of the other reforms they
said they were open to and sam what some likelihood that we'll actually see some kind of change come out of this hearing. well there's a pretty good likelihood i'd say it's important that a lot of these individual files a court reforms are incorporated into a broader n.s.a. reform bills that have been introduced and when it comes to the chances of these bills passing there's by. partisan support which is something that it's unusual around congress here in bipartisan support to movies and this was something that congresswoman jan schakowsky said today at the hearing here's a clip. of the two individuals who wrote one republican one democrat who yes one republican one democrat who wrote the usa patriot act shortly after nine eleven have now introduced the usa freedom act that essentially would repeal many of the aspects and change them
of the of the patriot act. and she's referring congresswoman schakowsky is referring to congressman jim sensenbrenner zz. usa freedom act and sensenbrenner of course wrote the patriot act and the freedom act repealed a lot of the patriot act it installs the special privacy advocate on the pfizer court that we talked about earlier and it restricts patriot act section of two fifteen the bulk metadata collection program and it has support from republicans and democrats are on board with it and it has a companion bill that was introduced in the senate by a democrat senator patrick leahy so it looks like with this bipartisan nature it looks like something will get passed when it comes in the n.s.a. it will be passed in a standalone bill or maybe something out of to the national defense authorization act at the end of the year which still needs to be worked out it's just a matter of whether it's going to be a really meaningful reform or more watered down reform of the n.s.a. what have to wait and see but of course the latest send us
a leaks of centered on the u.s. government spying on world leaders did numbers of congress or intelligence officials speak to that issue at all. you know they spoke to it and chairman mike rogers the chairman of the intelligence committee gave a lot of deference that to say on this one he said this is what happens in the in the in the surveillance world for inspiring each other allies spy on each other the european union spying on the united states and its continuing to spy on the united states france spying on the united states so he didn't have any problem with the united states spying on world leaders and director of national intelligence james clapper said that knowing the plans and intentions of world leaders is a basic tenet of surveillance surveillance one o one so the sort of outrage you saw yesterday on the other side of topple hill in the senate with senate intelligence committee chairwoman dianne feinstein when she found out about this this program spying on world leaders didn't exist on the house
side here where chairman mike rogers seem to suggest that this is completely fair game and something of the n.s.a. should be doing very interesting well as. seems like right now there are questions over when and how much the white house knew about this surveillance but what about the congressional intelligence committees which are in charge of oversight doesn't seem like they were aware. of that there's a question when it comes to the intelligence committees to of or when they were notified chairman mike rogers suggested that the committee knew about this based on national intelligence priority framework it's kind of a giant report that the intelligence committee of the white house gets that goes to the priorities of the intelligence committee but other members of the committee pushed back a congresswoman jan schakowsky and congressman adam schiff said hey this committee didn't know about it they asked the n.s.a. why they didn't know why they weren't informed about these programs which led to this confrontation between chairman mike rogers and congressman adam schiff over
whether or not the committee actually knew about the program to spy on world leaders here's the clip. i'm interested to know the stream and we would be happy doesn't take those down to the committee and spend a couple of hours going through mounds of product that would allow a member to be as informed as a member wishes to be on sources and methods and all activities of the intelligence community under the national intelligence framework i would just say and i just think this we need to be careful about what i type of i but i think immediately daniel was to use the classification and i think would be disingenuous mr chairman if you suggesting we have information if we don't have it. because that was a very public and a very embarrassing dustup on the house intelligence committee where you have members debating what they knew about and when they knew it and this is the committee that we're told is providing oversight on the n.s.a. and given what we heard from senator dianne feinstein yesterday it would seem to suggest that chairman mike rogers didn't actually know about it if his counterpart
in the senate didn't know about it and neither intelligence committees were fully briefed on this program that authorized spying on world leaders well that was political commentator sound facts on capitol hill thank you. and just today our chief sat down with ecuadorian president rafael correa during his visit to moscow korea isn't russia not to talk about the n.s.a. but rather to boost the friendly relations that already exist between the two countries the relationship between ecuador and russia gain new momentum this year as the two countries align their support behind former u.s. government contractor edward snowden artie's alexi your shut ski has more from president gray a. f.l. korea is now in moscow the very same city where edward snowden their whistleblower now resides on his political asylum the breaking revelations of whom infuriated the leader of ecuador back this summer and he is still pretty much angry especially in the light of the latest revelation on high profile politicians in europe being
wiretapped by the n.s.a. . by the loose they said it was necessary for fighting against terrorism and i don't know if that angle merkel is a terrorist i think it's clear the use of violence programs for economic reasons for helping the transnational companies can you imagine what could happen if the program was carried out by bin is very limited cuba russia it could or argentina would have called us dictator and criminals and we could be judged in the international court would it not. even the fact that. the economy of ecuador largely depends on the united states it's not by no means an obstacle for mr korea to come with open criticism of washington's actions i remember when i covered the huge international scandal involving the visit to moscow of another latin american leader the president believe you ever more or less want to explain was denied airspace in europe and i had to spend twelve hours at the n.s.a. airport so back then i quoted a very explosive words from the ecuadorian foreign ministry which said that if
something like this happens to us president then it will could have been a good reason to declare war so of course the economic and military cooperation will be on the table at the talks between putin and korea but there's no chance that the fate of mr snowden will escape their attention in this conversation. now that artie's alexy jarosz esky reporting from moscow. and u.s. lawmakers heard testimony from survivors of an alleged u.s. drone strike today three pakistani. congress this morning to describe an attack that killed their sixty seven year old mother and grandmother in pakistan last year the family which was invited to washington by representative alan grayson came to share their heartfelt stories with lawmakers and held high hopes of getting answers from congress artie's guy in a chuck e. on spoke with the rudman family and brings us this report. this was the first time actual victims of u.s.
drone strikes were in congress and there were maybe only four members of congress who came to this briefing apart from the congressman who initiated this meeting congressman alan grayson it's no secret the u.s. congress generally approves of drone strikes so it's very difficult to expect the sudden change of heart even though hard was what these drone victims were appealing to on a twenty fourth of last year a u.s. drone strike left the pakistani family devastated the nine year old girl and her thirteen year old brother nearly a scaped death a day there sixty seven year old grandmother was killed while picking vegetables in the garden last month no longer. want to win this. kind of bright return. you know this family has never been abroad before out of their home in north waziristan in pakistan and the father said he looked at the life around here in d.c. and i met them at a lively d.c.
restaurant after a screening of a documentary on drones where they were invited and the father said he wished his children too would be able to walk the streets not afraid of being bombed at any moment the family of course came to washington hoping to get answers to why they have to live in fear every day i had the chance to talk to the little girl very briefly a day before this meeting in congress here's what she told me why do you think your grandmother was killed. i don't know but one of the reason why you came to me i had no idea why my grandmother would want to turn here. with my grandmother everything became dark i was scared so i started to run again and i noticed my hand was bleeding and i tried to clean my hand kept coming out but i was very scared and i just kept running and independent reports say u.s. drone strikes killed one hundred seventy four children those are astonishing numbers if you put human. basis to them and the purpose of this briefing in
congress was to put a human face to gross writes there's a shortage has that in congress the tragedy of this family will fall on deaf ears but there is hope that the public will take notice in washington i'm going to check out. and still ahead here on our team former congressman was sentenced to three years in jail for this not guilty of extortion money laundering and more the details of the congressman when we return. we're not psyched to an act of camps have one on a motor where patients are horsemen at the mouth or in the mouth of the first strike that turns the world's attention to the place that some jobs in the gulag a large mines. the day. it was
a family's very hard to take. once again. have you ever had sex with her hair believe. that. it was. one of the beauties of the club i am the president and i think a society that i think corporation kind of can get to consume consume consume you. and the banks are trying to put all that all about money and i'm
a fashion mistake for a politician to write the laws and regulations that. somehow. there's just too much rat is a days. that. it sucks but. we're going to do it. did you know the price is the only industry specifically mentioned in the constitution and the concept i think that's because a free and open press is critical to our democracy which threaten all brothers. in fact the single biggest threat facing our nation today is because for the takeover of our government and oppressive ago we've been a hydrangea why a handful of transnational corporations will profit by destroying what are probably harbors but once built that's my job market and on this show we reveal the big picture of what's actually going on in the world we go beyond identifying the
problem to try and rational debate in a real discussion of critical issues facing america if i ever feel ready to join the movement then welcome to the. and a federal judge has now sentenced former representative rick renzi to three years behind bars a former g.o.p. congressman served in arizona's first district for five years from two thousand and three to two thousand and eight at the time of his indictment renzi how the coveted seat on the house intelligence committee however that year he decided not to seek reelection fast forward to june of two thousand and thirteen when representative renzi was convicted on seventeen of thirty two corruption counts he was found guilty on two sets of charges the first embezzlement and which the representative was found to be funneling client funds from his insurance brokerage into the election campaign and the second a charge of conspiracy in which he and
a business partner named james sandlin together orchestrated an illegal land swap of u.s. government property in response to the sentencing acting assistant attorney general of my feelie romana of the justice of the justice department's criminal division said quote mr renzi abuse the power and the corresponding trust that came with being a member of congress by putting his own financial interests over the interests of citizens to break down this case and what implications it may have i was joined earlier by melanie sloan director of the sit ins with citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington she first explained the land swap between rick renzi and one of his associates. this was the bigger part of the case the one that really implicated the public trust mr renzi used his position in congress to insist that the resolution trust coppermine purchased land from represented from mr sandlin in order for mr stanley and to pay back a debt that he owed to representative renzi and the resolution trust company didn't
wasn't really that interested in this land they were initially interested in making a land swap for some other land but then renzi kept pushing this land and then he wanted it to be valued at a much higher price than it was worth and eventually somebody from the resolution trust company went to federal prosecutors and told them about what was going on in this case representative renzi then fought this case tooth and nail for really seven years it went all the way up to the ninth circuit court of appeals they tried to go to the supreme court the supreme court turned down the case and it has been winding its way through the courts and frankly it's just it's not very satisfying to see him get only three years in jail for such a flagrant abuse of power and i want to get to that will ultimately how did he get caught before we get any further because that's one thing i haven't been able to understand sure he got caught because people went to the justice department people told the justice department what was going on that they thought that there were problems with what representative renzi was doing that they felt pressured to engage in this land swap so people from the resolution trust company went to it went to justice and of course going off of what you were just talking about you
know prosecutors asked for twelve years course the defense said he doesn't need to serve any time in jail so what do you think about this three year sentence i mean give us some perspective is that is that enough now i think three years is a pretty light sentence given the fairly a agreed just facts of this case into other cases in which members of congress have gone to jail in recent years one involving duke cunningham a representative from california and another involving william jefferson from louisiana both of those members who were involved in illegal activity that also involve money coming into their personal pockets they received ten and eight years for. actively so representative renzi getting nearly three years is a very low sentence i think the judge may have taken into account there were some problems in the prosecution's case there were questions about whether the f.b.i. had engaged in some improper activity but one thing i will say is that the judge david said that mr renzi and mr sandlin who engage in these activities were good men who did bad things and i will say that i think it's pretty rare for
a judge to to give the defendants who have been fighting said tooth and nail and refusing to take responsibility for their criminal behavior so much the benefit of that was interesting i was going to ask you do you think the fact that this took place in arizona of all places had anything to do with the historically republican state we're dealing with a republican congressman do you think that having to do with it or you know i think that the judge seemed to be. affected by the fact that this was a former congressman who was well had once been well respected in the state. congressman's family push that he was a family man with lots of kids a man of faith but rarely will you see other criminal defendants getting the same kind of benefit of the doubt when they have done something so blatantly illegal i mean most people if they're caught red handed like renzi is and he never took responsibility again usually these lighter sentences are handed down on somebody exception responsibility for their action when they plead guilty and they say yeah you know i did something wrong and here was the bad circumstance and here's why i did this bad thing but representative renzi is still fighting and he's still saying
they're going to appeal again to the ninth circuit court of appeals so they're not done yet and you mentioned the role of the f.b.i. in all of this and perhaps that's why he had such a light sentence can you talk about the misconduct to what extent did it go to well so some of the problems were about the great amount of confusion that exists when a member of congress is prosecuted there is a portion of the constitution called the speech or debate cause and this is very complicated but basically it says that members of congress can't be questioned about things in the legislative sphere and when the f.b.i. was doing its investigation of representative read. they were listening to some of his phone calls and they were overhearing material that they weren't supposed to listen to and the judge was very troubled by that and much of that was thrown out of court of court and in fact that is the issue that first went up to the ninth circuit questions about the extent of the speech or debate clause defense absolutely and you know it's interesting i just want you to expound a little bit more on that like what's the rationale behind you know. yeah i
mean just i just can't believe that this act was actually used they tried the speech or the cause was actually comes in and original part of the constitution it was an important part of making sure that our members of congress were independent from the executive branch at the executive branch couldn't just come in and say arrest members of congress and that they could be forced to do the executive branch's bidding so it had some had some good reasons for its enactment but in recent years it's been expanded a great deal we saw an expansion of the use of the clause actually in the case of the prosecution of william jefferson that we saw before the prosecution of representative renzi and some people may remember that representative jefferson his congressional office was searched by the f.b.i. and this brought to a big court case as well and and this is played into the case involving representative renzi so i think we're not through with seeing the use of the speech or debate clause used by members of congress to basically hide their misconduct and
of course no other nobody else can get away with that this is something that's particular to members of congress and sometimes house and ledges state legislators absolutely and in the case of former majority leader tom delay obviously he repealed and he was acquitted. you see one his case reference he is now saying that he's going to appeal do you think it's at all possible that he might actually escape this i think it is very unlikely the case against representative delay was very different than the case involving a representative renzi the main difference and i am no fan of representative delay but representative randy was taking many of his personal. saket and representative delay was not involved in that kind of activity he was funneling money into campaigns into the republican party to the republican party so i think it is a very different matter and we're also talking different can federal law in texas state law will definitely have to keep our eyes peeled for what happens next with this case but melanie sloan thank you so much for coming on director of citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington. answer the controversy over obama's
new health care law and no it's not about the troubled website rather it has to do with what president obama has been telling americans about how this will affect health insurance for individual buyers take a look. if you like your doctor you will be able to keep your doctor period if you like your health care plan or you will be able to keep your health care plan. period. no matter what you for if you like your doctor or health care plan you can keep it if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor if you like your private health insurance plan you can keep your point nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage of the doctor you have nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have all approach would preserve the right of americans who have insurance to keep their doctor in their place. but even though
the president gave a convincing argument for why people didn't have to worry about changing their plans we're now learning that couldn't be further from the truth according to an n.b.c. investigation fifty to seventy five percent of the fourteen million customers can expect to get notifications of their health insurance has been canceled this all because their existing policies may not meet the standards mandated by the new health care law now the law originally stated that the policies in effect as of march of two thousand and ten would be grandfathered which means consumers could keep them regardless of whether they met the new standards however the department of health and human services then narrowed that provision down to say that any policy that had significantly changed according to state law would no longer have grandfathered status and according to this investigation the obama administration was not exactly in the dark about this in fact they've known this to be the case for at least three years obamacare regulations from july of two thousand and ten
specifically say that because of normal turnover rates forty to sixty seven percent of customers insurance policies would lose their grandfather satis meaning customers on those plans would have to switch the white house does not display. that many individual holders will have to change their plans but in a statement a spokesperson said quote in the vast majority of cases those same insurers will automatically shift their enrollees to a plan that provides new consumer protections and for nearly half of the individual market enrollees discounts through premium tax credits so like it or not the message has changed but the white house says it's for the better. and on capitol hill today the mother of trayvon martin called on lawmakers to work with state and local officials to re-evaluate the purpose of the controversial stand your ground law stand your ground is the piece of legislation that took front and center this past summer when george zimmerman was put on trial in the death of trayvon sabrina fulton spoke at the senate judiciary subcommittee hearing that took
a look at how this law is being practiced and thirty different states in addition to fulton the panel also heard from lucy a bath the mother of another slain african-american teenager named jordan davis the man who killed davis is currently trying to use the standard ground law as his defense in. spoke with the davis family attorney john phillips and he talked in depth about how this law is being used and abused to new ground since two thousand and five when it was implemented and spread like a cancer throughout the country has taken the role of the jury to judge the facts and look at both sides and look at evidence and try to figure it out and similar we don't need to do that let's just find legal gun owners in a legal place and let's look at them in what their situation is and let's let's examine their brains and try to determine whether they thought they were in fear for their life if they were that's all they have to prove not that the situations
warranted killing but that they believe that they were warranted to kill. and their testimony the two mothers did not call to restrict gun ownership gone or gun ownership but rather said that they hope to see the laws clarified and applied logically and that does it for now in the new year of david. russell brand you say you want a revolution well you know we all want to change the world you say you've got no solution well you know there's already a plan but takes money and power from those who hate it gives it those who will no longer wait for you to. debate whether or not risk been asked oh so quick can stop the plunder and pillage by the con man hucksters and banks to back by the state. it's called big going.